Woman who vandalized church sentenced

| July 21, 2013

A Santa Maria woman who vandalized St. John Neumann Catholic Church last year was sentenced Wednesday to almost three years in state prison.

Amanda Ruiz, 24, was sentenced Wednesday by visiting Superior Court Judge Roger Picquet in Santa Maria.

She had pleaded no contest July 3 to a felony charge of recklessly causing fire to a structure.

Ruiz was originally charged with felony counts of arson and second-degree burglary, but those charges were dismissed as part of her plea agreement.

Picquet sentenced Ruiz to 32 months in state prison and ordered her to pay more than $80,000 in restitution, according to Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens, the case prosecutor.

Santa Maria police found St. John Neumann Catholic Church in disarray Nov. 15, 2012, when they responded to a fire alarm there.

The interior of the church at 960 W. Orchard St. had been vandalized, there was a fire burning and Ruiz was playing the piano, police have said. Drug paraphernalia was reportedly found in the church.



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Category: Church Security

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